Quality is everyone's responsibility: applying implementation science to residential child care

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With millions of children worldwide living in alternative care settings, this article
applies the learning from implementation science to advance the sector's
thinking around what needs to be in place to ensure consistently high-quality
residential care. Building on the quality indicators identified by Farmer et al.
(2017), an international review of the residential care literature (Porter et al.,
2020) and focusing on smaller residential care settings, the article discusses how the eight implementation drivers within active implementation (Fixsen et al.,
2005; 2019) can encourage a more nuanced, multi-dimensional understanding
of what is needed to enable quality in residential child care. Greater attention to
value-based recruitment of staff; the coaching of staff; the collection, analysis
and use of meaningful data; and feedback loops from the practice level to
engaged and adaptive leadership all emerge as areas for further attention. The
article concludes by asserting that implementation science can constructively
challenge the planning and delivery of residential care and, importantly, do so in
a manner that recognises the different contexts, settings and environments in
which residential care is provided to children and young people internationally.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-139
Number of pages24
JournalScottish Journal of Residential Child Care
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2021


  • residential care
  • children's rights
  • quality care
  • implementation science
  • active implementation


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